Say “NO!” to seismic blasting and offshore drilling of the Atlantic!

Photo by Nicole L. Triplett
Photo by Nicole L. Triplett

Protect Our Coast!

  •      Our beach towns need healthy communities and economies, not refineries and pipelines. Say no to Atlantic drilling and protect ‪#‎MyEastCoast‬!

Learning from History

  •      After the Gulf of Mexico was opened to drilling, the massive 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster became the worst oil spill in our nation’s history, leaving behind a toxic legacy the region is still struggling to recover from.
  •      Businesses of all sizes have been paid more than $4 billion in economic damages due to 2010’s spill. Many people still fighting for adequate compensation and lawsuits are still ongoing; small, family-owned businesses were the worst impacted by this loss of revenue.
  • Even though the spill was capped in July 2010, oil is still washing up on shores. The 200 million gallons of crude oil polluted over 25% of Louisiana’s coastline, killing over 8,000 animals in the six months following the spill. A recent study confirmed that 10 million gallons of crude oil still sits on the Gulf floor ailing fish and other wildlife; ailments that are sure to move up the food chain toward the human population.

Below is a glance into the true costs of the BP oil spill.

Here ~> The True Cost of the BP Oil Spill for People, Communities, and the Environment

As for our coast?

  • Read the details here:

Offshore Drilling the Atlantic Coast

Seismic Surveys Fact Sheet

 

 

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Longpoint Landing Cleanup and Offshore Drilling Developments

On Sunday, November 15th a handful of us wandered out to Longpoint Landing and did a cleanup. All-in-all we gathered about 5 big trash bags full of trash (mostly beer bottles and cans) and a busted television. It’s always interesting to see what turns up on these cleanups. One of my favorite “treasures” is a completely flattened fork, which I framed and is now decorating my kitchen. Anyway, it turned out to be a lovely day. To keep up on future events please join us at: http://www.meetup.com/White-Oak-New-Riverkeeper/

Below are some of the photographs taken that day, courtesy Douglas Toltzman.

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In other news…

On Monday, November 16th the Carteret County commissioners voted in favor of offshore drilling in a 4 to 2 vote. This was not taken lightly by local residents. However it was stated by Commissioner Mansfield, ““At this time I have to stand in support of the governor and his views on offshore drilling.” You can read more on this HERE.

 

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Thanks to the Tideland News

DJT_6533Brad Rich, of the Tideland News in Swansboro, came to our meeting early and spent a few minutes, interviewing Nicole Triplett about her background and her new job as the White Oak-New Riverkeeper.

The Tideland News has always been a great supporter. More specifically, Brad has done a great job of covering environmental issues, and developments involving the Riverkeeper and related organizations. The Tideland recently publicized our November 7 meeting, and some details about our Riverkeeper program.

DJT_6541Speaking of our November 7 meeting, we had seven people attend, including Nicole, Dale Weston, and myself. It was a small group, but we had a nice, productive talk.

Thanks to Bake Bottle & Brew for hosting our little get-together.

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Poetry from Melissa Birchfield

“Somewhere, out in the ocean — far away yet closer than we would admit — lies the carnage of those animals which have been entangled in plastic, filled with plastic, poisoned by plastic. Their soundless cries have fallen on the deaf ears of oblivion. When the plastic finally comes up into our seafood, into our bodies, then maybe we will start listening. By then it might be too late.” by Melissa Birchfield, a junior at Eastlake High School in Sammamish, WA.

I couldn’t have said it better, myself. See The Sammamish Review for more.

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To Drill or Not to Drill

_DJ23922I attended the October 14 Special Meeting & Workshop of the Swansboro City Council. The first half of the meeting consisted of presentations by four experts concerning off-shore oil drilling and seismic surveys.

Greg Rudolph opened with an overview of the off-shore drilling process, a general overview of seismic blasting, what the oil industry expects to find on our coast, the minimum time frame in which things might happen, locations, and some projected revenue numbers, along with how revenue may or may not be shared.

I took away a few things from his presentation. I was surprised to hear that the area that is expected to be the most productive is mostly inside the 50 mile exclusion zone. Apparently, that’s why our governor is working to reduce the exclusion zone to 30 miles. Another item that struck me was that outside 3 miles distance from our coast, there is no current law that says the federal government has to share any of the revenue with the state. A revenue sharing agreement must be passed by the U.S. legislature before North Carolina would get any money from off-shore drilling, unless it was right on our coastline (within 3 miles). Even if the state did get money from the federal government thanks to some kind of revenue sharing legislation, the State of North Carolina, would get first dibs on the money, and it’s unlikely that much, if any money would flow down to the local level.

_DJ23925Our next speaker was Dr. Douglas Nowacek. He explained what we do and do not know about the impacts of seismic air guns (used for seismic surveys) on marine wildlife. The good doctor explained that, although we haven’t documented immediate harm to individual marine animals, we have lots of evidence that would lead a rational person to conclude that constant loud noises (seismic airguns are the loudest sound humans put into the ocean, and seismic surveys continue through the drilling process) displace, disrupt, and otherwise annoy the creatures that are bombarded with them. He pointed out that noise levels were shown to change foraging patterns, cause animals to eat less, negatively impact reproduction, and other things you’d expect if an animal was under stress from repeated loud noises. Seismic airguns are very loud, and they can be heard for thousands of miles.

_DJ23926If you guessed that, in the interest of getting all sides of the story, the next speaker would be an industry shill, you’d be right. I must say that he was well chosen, in that he claims to have grown up in the area and has the area’s best interests at heart. David McGowen, the Executive Director of the North Carolina Petroleum Council took the stand and told us that there was no conclusive evidence of adverse effects on marine wildlife by seismic testing. To be fair, he was very respectful of the previous two speakers. However, his job was to allay our fears and convince us that there was great economic opportunity, and little to no danger of environmental damage. He also pointed out that the public is allowed to comment at every stage in the permitting process, in a bid to convince the council that it didn’t need to take any action in the near term. If you want the details of David’s presentation, you can get his sales pitch from Energy Tomorrow’s web-site.

_DJ23932Our final speaker was Jessie Hawkins. Jessie had a long resume’ that I didn’t manage to scribble into my notes, but I did catch that he was with the Division of Marine Fisheries for 30 years. What was most obvious about Jessie was that he is passionate about fish and the unique features of North Carolina’s coast that support them. He pointed out that North Carolina gets around a billion dollars a year from sustainable commercial fishing and tourism. He described what makes our estuaries and coastal waters unique and invaluable. He also pointed out that there is a lot we don’t know about the deep water spawning areas along our coast and how they might be impacted by oil drilling. Mr. Hawkins did an excellent job of explaining why we shouldn’t be too quick to gamble with our natural resources. He even suggested that a more sustainable solution might be to build wind farms to harvest the huge wind potential along our coast.

My thoughts on all this, are in line with Jessie Hawkins. I think we need to stop gambling with our natural resources to drill for fossil fuels when we know fossil fuels are not sustainable. You probably expected that from me. However, I have another thought: If we did get 55,000 jobs, as the proponents advertise, those jobs would come with the infrastructure that accompanies dirty industry. If you haven’t been to New Jersey, I suggest you fly into the Newark airport and check out the coast of New Jersey as you make your final approach. If you don’t want to visit NJ, try Houston. There is a reason why people come to North Carolina to enjoy the beach, and there is a reason why I live here, and not on the coast of New Jersey. Sure, economic development is a great thing, but the oil industry would destroy everything I love about eastern North Carolina. If I wanted to live in a booming metropolis and get up every morning to the smell of crude oil, there are lots of places I could go. I live here because the air is fresh, the beaches are clean, I can swim in the water, and I can eat the local seafood, among other things. The world doesn’t need more oil. The world needs clean, safe water and an environment that provides us with food and a good life.

Doug Toltzman

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About Our Riverkeeper

frame5smWe’re in the latter stages of hiring a full time Riverkeeper to help us do community outreach, organize events, keep an eye on our rivers and estuaries, inform our public officials, raise money, write grant applications, and other things related to clean, safe public water resources in the White Oak River basin.

Now, if that sounded like a lot to expect from one person, you’re absolutely right! There is no way one person can watch hundreds of miles of streams, manage public outreach programs, clean up trash before it gets to the ocean, and influence our public policy makers on policy decisions. Our new Riverkeeper will need your help!

We don’t expect our Riverkeeper to be an army of one. The Riverkeeper will need lots of volunteers for all sorts of activities and projects. The Riverkeeper will collaborate with our excellent city, county, and state, environmental actors. We currently have several governmental organizations doing water sampling in our watershed. The Riverkeeper will be the eyes on the river, and he/she will document and report significant events to the responsible authorities. In order to know when and where environmental incidents are occurring, the Riverkeeper will need paddlers all over the basin to keep an eye on the places they paddle, and report suspicious conditions to the Riverkeeper for further investigation.

In essence, we aren’t hiring a Riverkeeper. You are. You, the paddler, the fisherperson, the homeowner, the swimmer, sailor, boater, or just the person who eats and drinks and would rather not be poisoned, are getting a person who you can rely on to assess and advocate for your precious water resources. However, you are the eyes and the muscle of the Riverkeeper. He/she can’t be everywhere, and he/she can’t do everything. We’re counting on dedicated volunteers to pitch in, make our Riverkeeper program a success, and help our new Riverkeeper feel welcome and appreciated.

I, for one, will be there to help organize events and pick up trash. I will continue to report things like alligator weed, discoloration of water, sediment/erosion problems, trash dumps, fish kills, and other unusual events that I observe when I’m out paddling. Sometimes all it takes to help is a little education and a genuine concern for our quality of life.

We will be announcing our new Riverkeeper in the next 2 weeks.

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“Paint” Disposal Opportunity

Just passing along:

Thanks to Lisa for providing this info! Great opportunity to clean out your garage….

Spread the word!

When:  Saturday, November 7th, 2015 9am-1pm

Where: at the Onslow County Landfill 415 Meadowview Rd.

What:  Onslow County Solid Waste invites all county residents to bring unwanted “Paint” to the landfill on November 7, from 9:00am to 1pm.

*”Paint” includes oil and latex paint cans in all sizes, stains, paint removers, thinners and aerosol cans.  Please be sure containers are not leaking and are secure in your vehicle.

For more information or if you have questions about bringing other materials for disposal, please call Lisa Rider at 910.937.1442 or emailLisa_Rider@onslowcountync.gov.

Cost:  Vehicles will be weighed in and charged a regular disposal fee of $49.00 per ton.

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New River Roundtable Meeting

Feel free to join. These are open to the public and you will learn a lot about local issues and how to become involved.

WHEN:    Thursday, September 17th,  1pm – 3pm.
WHERE:  Sturgeon City in Jacksonville (http://www.sturgeoncity.org/map-and-directions.html)
WHO:    Jennifer Dorton – Coordinator for the North Carolina Sentinel Site Cooperative, or NCSSC (http://oceanservice.noaa.gov/sentinelsites/north-carolina.html).

 

 

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